Ruchika Seth is the owner and designer of The Style Palette based in Memphis, Tennessee.
Can you tell us a little bit about the moment you realized you were an artist?
I will never forget the story from the day I realized that the art field was for me. I was sitting with my mom at the kitchen table, with my ever-present sketchbook and pencil. My mom was in the process of quizzing me from my test study guide, and I was staring at the tapestry of Lord Krishna that was hanging on the wall across from me. And while I was supposed to be preparing for my test, I drew the entire tapestry in my sketchbook; from the tiny details to the bold designs. That was the moment I realized my hidden potential. And when I was a senior in High School, I found my passion for color and decided to get into a field where I can endeavor my journey of Textile Designing.
How did you learn your necessary skills?
I acquired my necessary skills of art and design at the college I attended in New Delhi, India and earned my 3 years degree in Textile Designing. Learning about art and design in depth helped me gain more knowledge about various techniques and skills of weaving, designing, and printing.
Are there specific opportunities or challenges that focused your career?
After I finished school, I started working as a freelancer in India and teamed up with several local boutiques. Coming out of school and starting my own business gave me pride and confidence to grow and explore. This opportunity gave me a chance to start designing my own fabrics at a young age, using various techniques I had learned. As we all know, life is not always a smooth journey, it has its ups and downs. In 2000, when I got married and moved to the US, one of the many challenges with my career was limited to no opportunities in my field of Textile Designing in Memphis, Tennessee and it came to a halt. Being an artist, I was not able to convince myself to stray from my love of designing. So, while looking for some opportunities as a textile designer, I earned a two-year diploma in Interior Designing.
I enjoyed working as an interior designer but I didn’t get the same thrill as I got from working with fabrics. I started transitioning my fabric designs that I had collected throughout the years to canvas. In 2015, my love for fabric, designing, and color brought me back to what I enjoyed doing the most; The Style Palette was born.
Who do you consider as your most influential mentor?
I have to say my most influential mentor was my second-year teacher in college. She saw my dedication and talent and encouraged me to keep moving forward. One of the most important things I learned from her was the skill of water coloring, and the different techniques and tricks used in the form of art.
Artists are extremely resourceful and often create multiple streams of income. How do you generate income to support yourself and artistic practice?
I generate income through my online store StylePaletteFashions.com, take part in local events/markets throughout the city, and support from community partners (local stores in Memphis).
How do you measure success in your work?
I would say happiness is the biggest measure of success. Seeing a customer, satisfied and filled with joy, enjoying and cherishing my product, and sharing their experience with their friends. And, when I see myself getting better every day as an artist and a person. To me it is not just about being the best but being better than what you were yesterday.
What artist inspires you the most?
Every artist that I have met or interacted with has inspired me in some way. Whether it is their artwork, their career story, their struggles, or even personal experiences, I feel we all have the power to inspire each other.
Do you have a creative hour, or a time/ place/ or activity that inspires your creativity?
I don’t think I can choose a specific time each day to be an artist. While going about my day, my mind will be filled with different ideas of art, painting, and design. And sometimes my younger daughter (10-year-old!) and I can spend hours talking about design ideas.
Do you have a ritual or do you set specific assignments for yourself?
I do try to set a ritual for everything I start but as a busy mom of two it is sometimes challenging to stay on track. One thing that is always with me is my journal with all my thoughts and ideas, whether it is painting or designing.
As a kid what did you see yourself doing as a career?
As a kid, I never thought I would become the designer or artist I am now. Yes, my main obsession was with all things sketching, drawing, and painting but, there was no vision of becoming an artist. My true passion started once I went to school for this.
What told you ‘this is the life for me’? (and when)
While I was in school learning what I am doing now I was entranced by the wide world of art. When I started working for boutiques in India, I could envision a future in this field.
What compromises have you had to make in order to succeed? Has it been worth all of your effort?
Being a mom of two girls, a lot of my afternoons goes into after school activities, which takes time away from my creative hours. Even though I don’t get to focus on my work a lot I cherish all the time I spend with them.
What do you love about being a creative in Memphis?
I have to say, surrounded by different artists, it is a daily dose of inspiration. I always say art is therapy! No matter what is going on in your life or how busy your day was, when you see things created by different artists everything seems normal. A huge shoutout to Arrow as it has provided a wide platform to creators, entrepreneurs, and artists to showcase their talents and abilities. We have so much to learn from each other, and Arrow is making this possible.
Tell us more about your efforts to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I have always believed that helping is an amazing gift and that we do not need a reason to help others. Sometimes simple little things can make a big difference in other people's lives and change their world. In 2015 when I started my company, The Style Palette, even though I incorporated my love for art and design, there was still something missing. I wanted to help, support and be involved in the community and women empowerment. Our motto is “Every woman should look beautiful no matter what race, size, or color she is. Everyone has their story and we are here to make yours unique.” What better foundation could I have partnered with than Susan G. Komen, who is helping millions of women to fight the battle of cancer. The Style Palette cares about the lives of the many women fighting the disease, and since 2017 we have assisted Susan G. Komen’s great effort in finding the cure through quarterly donations. When I hear their stories, their fight, it just makes me nervous. Bravo, to all the women who have gone through this or are currently fighting this disease. I also understand very well how it feels like to lose a loved one to this battle or any other. This year as The Style Palette completes 5 years in business, we are donating a scarf to a cancer patient or survivor for every purchase made online (@StylePaletteFashions.com) or through our community supporters (local businesses). My goal is to bring a smile on the faces who continue to fight and more importantly in a pandemic year.
Support Ruchika's efforts by shopping her scarves on our website here!